Can we all just agree right now that 2020 was the worst? I think we're all breathing a collective sigh of relief that the year is over. And here we are: 2021. A fresh start, a blank canvas, a chance to renew ourselves.
A lot of people talk about goals or resolutions this time of year, and it sure feels like a year to make some new plans or ideals. But instead of specific "new year's resolutions" that you can break by February (unless it's Creed's cartwheel, then you've got this) what if we create something more achievable, more customizable?
Today we're sharing five general categories for you to think through. Each one is broad enough to encompass any person, any lifestyle. We'll give you a few ideas to get you thinking, but you can take each category and make it what works for you. The goal? To help you have the best year yet. Your goals are your own, and we want to come alongside you and cheer you on.
1. Personal Health
If we've learned anything this year, it's that your health is worth protecting. We want you to find yourself happier and healthier in 2021. And let's be clear: this doesn't mean you need to go run a marathon or lose 20 pounds. Maybe you want to do that, and that's cool with us, but don't put yourself into somebody else's expectations. You can be healthy, active, and happy, no matter who you are or your life circumstances.
Here's a few ideas to get you started:
- Switch to natural deodorant: (You knew this was coming!) Get rid of those carcinogens and do your pits a favor with Pit Liquor's natural and organic formula. Wondering why this matters? Check out this post on natural deodorant.
- Move your body every day: No matter your circumstances, your body needs to move to stay strong and healthy. Rather than putting yourself into a "go to the gym everyday" mold, make a goal like "move for 20 minutes every day." Then you can check off that gym day, a walk with a friend, or chasing your toddler around the house as care for your body.
Your self needs some love, wouldn't you agree? 2020 depleted every one of us. We hope this year you'll show yourself some kindness and do things that really matter to you, things you love and that bring you joy.
- Do more of what you love: We can all agree there are things in our life that we love but just can't seem to find time for. Make this be the year you finally carve out the time! Maybe you want to read more book or run local trails or try good beer or perfect your underwater basket-weaving skills. Whatever your passion, we hope you'll make time for more of it this year.
- Sleep: Can the importance of sleep ever be overrated? Let's collectively agree to catch our 8 hours so we're a happier, healthier version of ourselves.
If we've learned anything in 2020, it's that kindness matters in big and small ways. We hope in the coming year we can all make an effort to show kindness to everyone around them.
- Choose a small act of kindness every day: Thank your grocery clerk, smile at the woman in line behind you (with your eyes, or maybe a smiley face mask!), pick up trash on the sidewalk, call an old friend, you get the idea. Small kindnesses matter deeply to others and boost your own mood as well.
- Deepen your relationships: Show others how much they matter to you by taking the time to care about them. Send a card, make a phone call, even meet in person if you're able. Choose one or two people in your life specifically this year to find a truly deep and loving relationship with.
4. Giving Back
One of our top values at Distilled Bath & Body is giving back to the world. We have a sustainability program, and what we're most proud of is the Tolos Project. In your own life, we hope you make our beautiful world a better place.
- Find a charity that matters to you: Maybe it's working with animals or children across the world or revitalization in your neighborhood. Big or small, find a charity and give! You can donate your time, possessions, money, or support in a variety of ways that will be meaningful to you and those you're supporting.
- Spend time each week giving back: Maybe you want to tutor kids or serve meals to the elderly or snuggle puppies at the pound. Whatever matters to you, go beyond a charity to your own neighborhood and find ways to invest your time in what matters to you.
We believe this year could be your best one yet. Tell us your goals for each category so we can cheer you on!
Melanie lives near Raleigh, NC with her husband and three kids. She loves hot coffee, good books, and deep conversations. Connect with her on Instagram via @melaniesallen
Three years ago, Pit Liquor deodorant was born from the desire to find a truly natural deodorant that works. Through hard work, grit, and determination, the company has gone from a kitchen counter to a full-fledged small business. Today, on Small Business Saturday, we want to take a look back at how this small business has grown and where it all began.
Pit Liquor was started back in 2017 by husband and wife Jason and Erica. During Erica's pregnancy with their daughter, Eve, Jason was concerned about the carcinogens in deodorants. They'd been trying various natural alternatives, but none of them worked. One day, he begged Erica to stop using toxic deodorant for the baby. So she slapped hand sanitizer on her armpits and headed out the door issuing Jason a challenge to find something that actually worked. When she got home, she was surprised to find she didn't stink. The hand sanitizer illuminated a new idea: high-proof, drinkable alcohol is less toxic than anything unregulated and potentially made from inedible ingredients.
Always the inventor, Jason thought plain old hand sanitizer was a boring (and not entirely non-toxic) solution to underarm stench. Any friend could tell you Jason and Erica's love for good whisky, so obviously, they turned to whiskey to solve their quandary. Jason began reading medical textbooks about deodorant and had a conversation with their doctor about the topic. He did research, trials, and found a perfect formula all while sticking to a motto to use only ingredients that are safe enough to eat.
Once they had a product and a fantastic name, they started (and completed!) a successful Kickstarter campaign and sit cozy with their patent pending. Three years later with two babies and a Great Dane in the mix, Erica and Jason have turned their idea into a thriving business, selling Pit Liquor online and in select stores, and are growing so fast their warehouse is bursting at the seams.
Pit Liquor has had over 100 media stories written about its products. They've been featured in places like: Playboy, Circa, local papers like the Loveland Reporter Harold and the Coloradoan, and even Michael Symon and Clinton Kelly talked about us on ABC's The Chew. Recently, Erica even appeared on Entrepreneur's show Elevator Pitch to promote Pit Liquor.
With hard work, ingenuity, and a little humor, Pit Liquor has grown into something Jason, Erica, and their team are truly proud of. We at Pit Liquor hope you'll join us to today to support this small business and many more like it. Cheers to quenching that stench and living your dream!
I have discovered, in recent years, that I am a master of self-criticism. I can critique myself on anything from the color of my hair to my attitude to the way I say hello to the grocery cashier. The holidays amplify this. I am suddenly hyper-aware of the way my house looks, my (lack of) gift wrapping techniques, and the Christmas cards I do or don't send. I wonder what family members or friends think about me, my gift giving, my holiday style, my very soul while silently berating myself for things no one would ever say to me.
What if we change things up this year? What if instead of criticizing yourself, you celebrate the amazing person you have become? Here's the thing: even if you only ever criticize yourself silently, the people around you notice. They see your anger or your sadness or your self-pity. They become the recipient of your criticism too, even if you don't mean for that to happen.
The bottom line? Changing your inner monologue and treating yourself kindly is an act of kindness to those around because you won’t be the worst version of yourself.
Let's give it a try. I'll be your guide as we learn together to change our inner narrative, which will in turn change our outer attitudes. We might not be able to change this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, but we can certainly change our inner dialogue.
Holiday Photo Cards
You know the drill. Your mailbox fills with shiny cards from every Facebook friend and extended family member you forgot you had. Each photo is more perfectly coordinated than the one before. How is it possible that your friends all lost five pounds and learned how to be a model during 2020?! Suddenly, sending out your own holiday cards with that candid photo from last summer seems like a terrible idea.
The Lie: An inner dialogue pops up in your head that says something like, "These people are so much more attractive/beautiful/handsome/thin/curvy/fill-in-the-blank than me. Clearly, they have their lives together in a way I never will. Look how happy they are, while I struggle with depression over here." If you drill down to the bottom of your self-criticism, you are believing that something is fundamentally wrong with you. You just don't measure up and you have no idea how to fix it.
The Truth: A dear friend once told me that when I compare my worst to another's best, I will always lose. Those holiday cards are another family's absolute best moment. They got out of their sweatpants for an entire hour and put on extra makeup specifically for the photos. They don't actually look like this all the time, just like you don't wear leggings and a pony tail every day of your life. Your family, appearance, or life may look very different from theirs but that doesn't mean it's insufficient or insignificant. Differences are worth celebrating, not shaming ourselves over.
As you leaf through holiday cards, take a moment to send good wishes to all your family and friends who are trying just as hard as you to make this year the best it can be. Then thank yourself for your beautiful body and all the happy memories you made with your loved ones this year
Inviting family or friends into your living space can feel equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. You suddenly feel the need to clean all the things, decorate with holiday spirit, and buy enough food to feed an army platoon. A small holiday gathering can quickly go from simple to overwhelmingly complex and expensive.
The Lie: It's easy to believe the state of our home/apartment/room reflects who we are as people. We think that when people walk inside our doors, they judge us for a pillow out of place or a ring around the toilet upstairs they'll never see. We tell ourselves this was a bad idea, our home isn't up-to-snuff because it doesn't look like one from a magazine.
The Truth: The real reason loved ones visit during the holidays is that they love to be together. You invited people because you want to be with them, not because you want to them to be guest judges on "DIY Home". There will always be people who judge your living space or even you, but those aren't the voices to listen to anyways. The people who truly love you will be delighted to see you no matter what color your carpet is or the absence of a Christmas tree.
Before you host your next gathering, make a point to simplify the day. Pick no more than three things to make or buy yourself and ask others to bring the rest. Light a few candles to bring in the holiday spirit, turn on festive music, and call it a day. Everyone will have such a good time with stress-free you that they won't notice or care if your snowman collection is missing from the mantle.
Instagram is a highlight-reel of traditions come December. Elf-on-the-Shelf, holiday cookies, walks through the snow, visits to Santa, and more flood your screen in all it's picture-perfect brilliance. You tell yourself that your small stocking stuffers and store-bought sugar cookies aren't enough to make Christmas magical. You are failing on an epic level. Your kids will basically grow up emotionally destitute because you didn't do a 12-days-of-Christmas extravaganza.
The Lie: Holiday magic + elaborate plans = happy loved ones, right? Wrong. This equation sets you up for failure, because the more elaborate your plans, the more overwhelmed and stressed you become. The more stressed, the more angry or hurt or sad you become which typically makes your loved ones unhappy. By believing your people will only love you and have a good holiday through your own efforts at winter magic, you set everyone up for disappointment and fuel the fire of your inner critic who already believed you were going to fail.
The Truth: Your family and friends love you because you're you. They don't expect you to put on a song and dance routine every Christmas (unless you're David Rose, and then you definitely should). Every personality, no matter how exuberant or introverted, has something to celebrate. Find something that brings you joy and share it with your loved ones. They'll be so much more delighted to share something you love than to do a hundred forced Christmas activities while you yell at them.
Pick your favorite traditions or poll the people you live with. Choose no more than five and ditch the rest. You'll be so much less stressed it won't matter that the Elf never made his appearance this year.
Are your ready? Take off that self-criticism like a bad manicure and get ready for a joy-filled, self-loving holiday season. It will be your best holidays yet.
Melanie lives near Raleigh, NC with her husband and three kids. She loves hot coffee, good books, and deep conversations. Connect with her on Instagram via @intentional_motherhood
"Always be a little kinder than necessary." JM Barrie
As 2020 draws to a close, we could all use a little extra kindness in our lives. Kindness to ourselves, kindness to others, kindness to the world around us. Here at Pit Liquor, we're committed to showing kindness to our world through our sustainability program, and through our top-notch customer relations. Did you know that National Kindness Week is November 9-13? Let's kick off the celebration with a few stories about kindness, both big and small.
When I think about small acts of kindness I often think of the classic "pay for the person behind you" idea where you pay for your own food or groceries as well as the person in line behind you. I'll be honest, I was a skeptic about this idea for many years. I always worried I would be the one using my last $5 to cover a millionaire's coffee order. Of course, good judgement is always wise, but let me tell you how much of a difference this can make.
One day not very long ago, I was having the absolute worst week. Everything that could possibly go wrong did. I was upset with my partner, our house was a mess, our money wasn't stretching as far as it should. Our children were being generally terrible, I was in a particularly bad disagreement with a family member, and I was feeling really lonely. While I was out running errands, I stopped by my favorite local coffee shop for a much-needed caffeine boost. As I stood in line, all I could think about was the weight of bad things I was carrying in my heart. It took everything within me not to cry right there at the coffee counter. I managed a small smile and half-hearted "How are you?" to the barista, who joyfully responded with the news that someone had paid for my drink. I was flabbergasted. I could have afforded to pay for the drink myself, but the fact that someone else cared enough about me to cover the cost meant the world to me. I'm not exaggerating when I say that small act completely changed my day. I suddenly realized there was a big wide world out there beyond my own struggles. Everything was going to be ok.
Kindness Through the Mail
I imagine almost every person in the world, including you, is feeling the pain of being separated from loved ones this year. My best friend lives several states away, and it has felt particularly difficult lately to live far apart. We spend time on the phone or using video-message apps, but it just doesn't feel the same as a hug or in-person conversation. It probably doesn't help that we have five children between us, so our time is often full-to-bursting with online school and parenting and potty-training.
My best friend holds that title for a variety of very spectacular reasons, but one of her extra-amazing qualities is her talent of sending thoughtful notes and gifts through the mail. Every month or two, she'll send me a handwritten note or small gift: a box of chocolates, stickers for my kids, a little something she picked up because she was thinking about me. None of these have been expensive or elaborate, but her kindness on an ordinary Tuesday often transforms my whole week.
In our digital age, I have forgotten the power of a handwritten note. The notes my friend sends always make a point to tell me something specific that she loves or appreciates about me, and to speak kindness and encouragement to my heart in some way. Now that we've been in quarantine for over six months, I have a whole stack of notes in her loopy handwriting that I can look through when I'm feeling especially discouraged or lonely. This small, seemingly insignificant kindness on her part has bolstered me through the one of worst years ever. Imagine if we all began writing notes to those we love, near and far.
Have you ever noticed how hard things seem to hit all at the same time? You lose your job and break up with your partner in the space of a few weeks. You lose multiple people who matter deeply to you in one season. It sometimes feels like all the hard parts of life gather together into one giant rain cloud that unexpectedly lets loose in a life-storm of difficulty. I've certainly experienced my share of painful seasons. A few years ago my husband and I battled infertility and then a miscarriage while he was working extremely long and stressful hours at work. We lost two grandparents in the space of six weeks while I was in my third trimester with one of our daughters. Another time my then-4 year old had her tonsils out the same day my youngest was almost hospitalized with bronchitis. (I have a lot of children so it seems my struggles regularly coincide with something child or pregnancy related. I now refer to some memories as "that year when I was pregnant with somebody." Clearly, I live in a zoo of small humans.)
Here is what I have found to be true about these difficult times: When your life feels like it is literally falling apart at the seams, people show up. It might not be the people you thought it would be, but there is always someone who brings kindness right when you need it most. When my husband and I lost his grandparents, his boss sent me flowers and a few friends made us dinner. When I miscarried while my husband was out of town, a friend drove me to the hospital. Another friend simply sat on my couch with me while I cried. Last year when I had two very sick children, a friend brought milkshakes and stayed with one child while I took the other to the doctor. Even in the darkest seasons, there are people in your life who truly care about you, and who will cross oceans, literally or metaphorically, to offer kindness in your times of greatest need.
I hope each of these stories inspires you to spread kindness to those around you in small and big ways. Happy World Kindness Week!
Melanie lives near Raleigh, NC with her husband and three kids. She loves hot coffee, good books, and deep conversations. Connect with her on Instagram via @intentional_motherhood